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Old 31-07-2013, 08:58   #76
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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And does everyone have your level of experience? "Dead flat calm?" Where is that guaranteed, given that we're talking about reefs that can lead to the kind of calamity that can kill people as well as boats?

I got myself into a peck of trouble by letting someone hip toe me at the wrong time. It didn't stay "dead flat calm." The wind and the water picked up, and I had to anchor out with a front coming through, and I ended up in a real mess.

I should have put my foot down and said "I TOLD you we had to go early morning before the wind picked up," but I was desperate to have my boat not laid up any longer and I trusted a more experienced sailor's -- WISHFUL THINKING. He WANTED it to be do-able, and so in his mind it was still a go.

Should have listened to myself, but I would have come across as an upstart newbie sailor. Hmmmm.... and since the major problems that followed wouldn't have happened, that's the perception that would have remained.

Sometimes we learn things the hard way.
Look this is going to sound really harsh but some people just aren't cut out to be sailors. They don't take it seriously enough, they don't care about seamanship, and they view a boat like a floating RV. It's hard to tell on the Internet who's who, and I'm not trying to sound like I'm Admiral Drake espousing the laws of the sea. I could give you a list of names of people I know personally who are much more capable sailors than myself, but I could also give you a list (including this thread starter) that have exercised blatantly non-seamanship behavior.

I mentioned the hip tow option in the event that there was no wind and he was being gently dragged onto a reef at 1/3 a knot. The first thing I mentioned in this thread was to use another sail, fix the sail, or stitch up the friggin bed sheets.

I mean put it in this context: everyone without electronics and an engine (which is thousands and thousands of sailors, including currently) is pulling off on a daily basis what caused this person to abandon ship.

I try to be helpful on this forum and there have been plenty of times where someone really did as much as can be reasonably expected and still lost the dice roll: it happens. Based on the information I'm reading, this is not one of those cases.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:03   #77
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Condolences to Syserenity for your loss and congratulations for your honesty. There is another perspective to the critics of this story that can be understood better by those who have played sports beyond a rudimentary level. When preparing for a game/event/match, athletes spend hours practicing to hone the skills necessary to be competitive and hopefully win. And, it is known to those who have played at higher levels of competition that there are some who perform well in practice and fold during the game. This is purely psychological since nothing has changed in the athlete other than the knowledge that this is no longer practice but the real game. I compare this reality to the CRITICS of Syserenity who in their ego lust to impress others with their skills, knowledge and bravado provide countless examples of how they would have avoided the loss of the vessel if it were they who were faced with his choices when, in reality, most will never encounter his situation in their sailing lives. One can never be certain of what your mindset will be at any critical event in your life and many of those who play well at practice (the armchair critics)--fold in the game. It has been my experience that those who have proven their mettle in real life crisises and are truly the most competent are always the most sympathetic to the ill fortune of others unless there is an ego to be fed that overrides compassion and decency. Syserenity has shared a devastating personal loss with our Forum. It is instructive to all of us as a teaching tool if we were faced with a similar fate. None of us can really know what we would have done unless we were there in the moment. And, if it was his choice based upon the conditions as he perceived them to abandon his vessel, we can never fully appreciate the mindset unless we were there in the moment. Only the most arrogant and ego driven of us would use this honest man's story as a bully pulpit to build and promote their internet image of master sailor and technician at the expense of another man's loss and tragedy. There is a difference between practice and the game. When you're there,contrary to what you believe, your story may be the same. Best of luck to Syserenity. May your sailing fulfill your dreams.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:04   #78
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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There have been several threads regarding the Baja filters, and I purchased one as a result of the information I gleaned here, and have used it with good results. I am not criticizing anyone, only relating my experience in this area. I am truly sorry that Serenity had to be abandoned. No second guessing on my part, I wasn't there.

My point about "baja filters" is that it's a nickname ... Experienced sailors will know what it means. People like me walked by them in West Marine many times without realizing what they did, until it was explained to me.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:06   #79
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

"The guy is still breathing, so he did SOMETHING right. I can list a few things he did right:

-- He went for it. He didn't stay home and type about wanting to go cruising, he actually went cruising.

-- He called for help when he felt his life was threatened. You can debate the risk he faced and recovery action, but you weren't there, and don't really know what he was up against at the time.

-- He shared his story. Sail magazine has a feature where sailors tell about a harrowing situation. Normally, it's a few paragraphs about the situation, followed by a few paragraphs describing why it's someone else's fault, and a paragraph about how you learned not to trust other people to do the right thing. I find this a better case study because it's raw and doesn't include the excuses. I've heard or read a fair number of these stories, but I generally learn something new from each story, particularly if the story hasn't been overly "massaged" to escape ridicule.

I appreciate the sailor's candor, and hope the peanut gallery will ease up on the armchair advice in favor of a bit of sympathy for his plight. "

BRAVO!!!!!!

There but for the grace of God would have gone a number of people here earlier in their lives, whether they admit it or not.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:09   #80
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Look this is going to sound really harsh but some people just aren't cut out to be sailors.


I would have no problem with that IN A DIFFERENT THREAD.

And it's true. I have a friend who thinks he's a fabulous and experienced sailor and yet who took off on a long trip with inexperienced crew on impulse. They ended up in five different kinds of trouble within 24 hours, all of it avoidable.

All of it avoidable by me, and I can't claim to be an expert or highly experienced sailor. but I knew not to make any of the mistakes he made.

I just don't think we should pick this guy apart. There's essentially been a death of sorts in his family. He had to choose himself over his beloved boat, for whatever reason.

Kudos to the Dole ship for how they handled it all, too.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:10   #81
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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This place is not tolerant of people who are not yet expert sailors, and that's the truth.
I disagree 100%, CF is extraordinarily patient and encouraging with not yet expert sailors........for that be all of us , even when grave doubts (a racing certainty?!) that nothing will ever come of the plans / dreams!............What many folks here are not so patient with are folks who are clearly early in their own learning curve spouting regurgitated half understood "advice" to others, especially those also starting out..........Big difference.

As you have discovered (with that Baja thing), a large part of the "secret" with boats is to understand for self what questions to ask. The knowledge is out there - whether on CF or not....yer just need to ask the right questions, and be able to understand the answers - and much of that understanding can only come from real world hands on learning for self.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:10   #82
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
My point about "baja filters" is that it's a nickname ... Experienced sailors will know what it means. People like me walked by them in West Marine many times without realizing what they did, until it was explained to me.
Actually, it's a name brand of a company that is no longer making the filters.

BJ-BAJA4.5BFC BAJA FUEL FILTER
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:18   #83
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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I disagree 100%, CF is extraordinarily patient and encouraging with not yet expert sailors........for that be all of us , even when grave doubts (a racing certainty?!) that nothing will ever come of the plans / dreams!............What many folks here are not so patient with are folks who are clearly early in their own learning curve spouting regurgitated half understood "advice" to others, especially those also starting out..........Big difference.

As you have discovered (with that Baja thing), a large part of the "secret" with boats is to understand for self what questions to ask. The knowledge is out there - whether on CF or not....yer just need to ask the right questions, and be able to understand the answers - and much of that understanding can only come from real world hands on learning for self.

That's right. We're back to "We don't know what we don't know." As soon as I saw a water separator I realized it was brilliant. I didn't know until today that it was commonly called a "Baja filter." I looked. It is all over this forum, but I doubt I read it, because I get the point of its nickname and I truly think I would have remembered it. Its purpose is to protect you from watery fuel in distant places where you can't be sure of the quality of the fuel.

In fact, if I had been fueling up in some distant port and a crewmate said to me, "Do you have a "Baja filter?" I would have said "What's that? I've never heard of it?"

HOPEFULLY I would added "What does it do?" and then I would have fished it out of the lazarette. Hopefully it would have gone that way.

But on the other hand, since I know what a water separator does, I no doubt would have already had it out.

But it's just by chance that I know it, because I went to that flea market that day with that person. Bingham is a compulsive teacher so when he saw it, he didn't think "Oh yeah, a fuel separator." He thought "She should know about this."

I know about using drogues to help steer a boat because of another friend talking about other options for steering (since I had no rudder at the time it was a "hot topic!") Since I still have a very exposed rudder, when I had the chance to buy two matched drogues cheaply, I snapped them up. I may never need them but I've got them.

As a former teacher I recognize this as "randomly gathering information." At the same time, the BS filter has to constantly be up, because I've also been told boatloads of nonsense.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:19   #84
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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I try to be helpful on this forum and there have been plenty of times where someone really did as much as can be reasonably expected and still lost the dice roll: it happens. Based on the information I'm reading, this is not one of those cases.
For me it is mainly about the manner in which the message is delivered, given that OP has lost his boat ..........TBH I don't see anything rude with your posts, but I have a thick skin!............but I think very useful that the message be conveyed (not to OP, am sure he knows himself already - but to others) that the situation was not "just one of those things that could happen to anyone", by making clear it could easily happen to anyone - but could also easily be both prevented and dealt with.....and how.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:19   #85
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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Look this is going to sound really harsh but some people just aren't cut out to be sailors.


I would have no problem with that IN A DIFFERENT THREAD.

And it's true. I have a friend who thinks he's a fabulous and experienced sailor and yet who took off on a long trip with inexperienced crew on impulse. They ended up in five different kinds of trouble within 24 hours, all of it avoidable.

All of it avoidable by me, and I can't claim to be an expert or highly experienced sailor. but I knew not to make any of the mistakes he made.

I just don't think we should pick this guy apart. There's essentially been a death of sorts in his family. He had to choose himself over his beloved boat, for whatever reason.

Kudos to the Dole ship for how they handled it all, too.
The reason I bring it up on this thread, and the value I think this conversation has, is a learning lesson (to everyone, regardless of experience) as to what they would do in the same situation.

Hopefully it will cause any mariner, regardless of experience, to take the thirty seconds and do a thought exercise on what they would do in this person's shoes. Patting the thread starter on the back and saying "it could happen to any of us" is just not true and presents this coddling image of the sea where the minute you're out of your comfort zone you hit the panic button and get saved by a cargo ship.

Bad things out of control can happen to any of us, but an easily repairable situation that you walk away from, leaving a hazard to other mariners in your wake, is not par for the course.

Anyway, I'm clearly beating the horse at this point and there's little value to that.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:19   #86
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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Actually, it's a name brand of a company that is no longer making the filters.

BJ-BAJA4.5BFC BAJA FUEL FILTER

Same result. As a newer sailor, I did not connect the name to the thing.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:23   #87
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Another factor is the rigors of solo sailing. Exhausted and without any outside help, relatively minor problems might very well prove unsurmountable. Without a background of extensive experience, it is quite possible that the poster felt his situation was more perilous than others might determine.

Plus you can't discount the fact that relatively simple tasks - changing filters or stitching sails, for example - are multiple times more difficult when wallowing around in a seaway. In big seas, it may be near impossible to even make a cup of coffee!

Given his proximity to possible reefs/nightfall/changing weather/unfamiliar territory, etc., I cannot second guess his decision.

It is unfortunate that no other sailor came to his aid. Perhaps with some assistance he still could have buddy-boated into a safe port.

I hope his boat is recovered.

JMHO
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:28   #88
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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"Look this is going to sound really harsh..."
Any comment that starts out with that, in a thread about a lost boat, would be better kept to yourself, or in another thread.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:32   #89
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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"Patting the thread starter on the back and saying "it could happen to any of us" is just not true and presents this coddling image of the sea where the minute you're out of your comfort zone you hit the panic button and get saved by a cargo ship."
I don't think anybody said that, did they?

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Anyway, I'm clearly beating the horse at this point and there's little value to that.
I'll agree with you there.

Sorry, don't mean to pick on you, but maybe you should give it a rest.
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Old 31-07-2013, 09:55   #90
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

As a relatively new sailor, I find this posting, and all the responses, to be quite useful in shaping how I should configure my boat, what to practice, and the zillion other things that fall under the heading of "seamanship".

Rebel Heart noted, "....everyone without electronics and an engine...... is pulling off on a daily basis what caused this person to abandon ship.....".

For me, it means learning how to steer with sails alone, tinkering with some self-steering techniques, using compass and charts to navigate, learning how my boat reacts to various weather/wave conditions, and a plethora of other things.

I'm sorry this fellow lost his boat. It's hard to know what I would have done in similar circumstances, but this thread has confirmed my opinion that a heavy reliance on complicated and power hungry appliances & electronics might not be the best approach. Mercifully "Robin's Nest" is small and I don't have room for much of this stuff!

With tongue firmly in cheek I ask myself WWJD?

That's Joshua.

Jerry W
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out of Port Kinsale
Yeocomico River
Southern Potomac
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